Hurricane Sandy was the worst storm to hit New Jersey in modern history, but it wasn't the storm to end all storms.
Climate change didn't cause Sandy, but it probably made it worse, say experts. Thus, with sea levels rising, storm surge levels could be even higher should a similar storm hit.
David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University, tells Stephen Stirling at the Star-Ledger:
"There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Sandy, and this was a hard way to learn them ... But let’s not kid ourselves. This isn’t the worst that New Jersey could get.
We saw tides at Sandy Hook break records by more than 3 feet ... What are sea levels projected to be by the end of this century? Two to 3 feet higher. Can you imagine adding 2 or 3 feet to what we just saw?"
Things could be much worse, and New Jersey needs to be rebuilt in a way that will limit the damage. It needs to be able to withstand another Sandy, and it will have to be a state-wide project.
It's too soon to come up with a specific plan, but what are some of the things they'll have to think about as they rebuild the state? According to the Star-Ledger:
- Coastal dunes provide a significant buffer and will have to be rebuilt higher
- Building codes may be changed so to improve construction standards
- In the more vulnerable places, they shouldn't rebuild homes or infrastructure
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